Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tomato, Cheese and Bacon!! Bread

So much for healthy eating in the new year - the food police are probably going to batter down my doors when this recipe sees the light of day. But really, I almost added mayonnaise, so it's not that bad, right? Or maybe worse, because I added - oh, never mind, you'll see it when you get there.

This recipe was born like many others. I wanted an interesting bread and I scrounged around to see what ingredients I had on hand. Once I decided to use bacon, the tomato followed quickly after. Although a BLT is classic, I didn't think lettuce would fare well in a loaf of bread, but cheese sounded like a good idea. I had a chunk of Monterrey Jack, but you could use any cheese you like. Or leave it out. It's not necessary.

Oh, and - haha - funny story. See that slice, and how ragged it is? Well, it was just a teensy bit warm when I sliced it and the bread was really soft, and I was kind of in a hurry because it was dinnertime and I wanted a sandwich. Like, NOW. Forget about waiting for it to cool completely, it was cool enough.

So I sliced and took photos and we ate, and I planned on taking more photos the next day when I could set up some nice shots. I was out for much of the day, and when I came back, the tablecloth had been neatly pulled until the bread cutting board was at the edge of the table.

The bread that had been in a plastic bag on the board was gone. Nothing else was disturbed. Well, the whole tablecloth had moved two feet. The dog claimed innocence, but I wasn't buying it.

So, there you have it. The photo isn't great, but apparently everyone loved the bread.

Tomato, Cheese and Bacon!! Bread

6 strips of bacon
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) bread flour, divided
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook the bacon until very crisp. Drain and let cool, reserving 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine water, sugar, yeast, and about 1/3 of the flour. Mix well and let stand for 15 minutes. The mixture will be frothy.

Add the rest of the bread flour and the tomato paste. Knead with the dough hook until the dough becomes elastic. Add the cheese, crumbled bacon, salt, and reserved bacon fat and knead until all the ingredients are incorporated and evenly distributed.

Form the dough into a ball, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and return to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled, about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet.

Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a ball. Place it, seam-side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Slash the loaf as desired, and bake at 350 degrees until browned and done, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack before slicing.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.